I like many people have quite a large amount of electronic devices that plug into my entertainment center. I realize that I am looking at getting a Roku XDS for Christmas and I don’t actually have a receiver that supports HDMI ports. In fact my rear projection 1080i TV doesn’t support HDMI cables at all and only supports component, composite or S-Video. This makes my combination of DVD Recorder, DVD Player, Dish Box and other entertainment equipment using up all available ports save for one component jack and one composite jack directly on my TV.
Fortunately I have an optical audio input on my receiver and I used to use this for my Playstation 2 which was the first and only console I think to support optical audio cables. Sony Electronics makes some of the best audio and video equipment and when I do get a new LED HD Television next year I am either going to have to use an HDMI cable splitter or buy a receiver that has multiple HDMI inputs to feed my TV. The only problem is now I will have so many electronics all with separate remotes I will likely need a Universal Remote that can change settings on more than one device simultaneously.
If you look at the back of my television it is like a digital serpent pit, audio and video cables run rampant and twist around each other like snakes attempting to constrict rodents. I am wondering how to consolidate and clean up the cabling, but don’t really have a good solution at this time without consolidating devices at some point.
I don’t use my DVD Recorder very often and when I get BluRay player I can probably replace both DVD player/recorder with a single Blu-Ray device. The DVR I have is really nice and I can always plug in an extra USB Hard Drive to give it more storage room if I need it.
For those who need a refresher in video / audio cables, here is some information.
DVI and HDMI cables will carry the best video signal and are the only cable besides computer DVI that can support true 1080p resolution for your television. HDMI cables carry video and audio but if you use a receiver it must support HDMI switching not pass through or it won’t send the audio to your surround sound and instead will just pass it to the television HDMI port.
Component video cables can support up to 1080i but is typically used for 720p and 480p standard and HD video but not true hi definition. This cable will only carry video and you need separate audio cables like coaxial, optical or composite audio cables.
S-Video carries only 480p and does not carry audio though has higher signal quality than composite video cables but below component video.
Composite video cables were once and still are the most common cables and consist of the familiar Yellow, Red and White colored cables. Yellow for video and Red/White for right/left audio channels. Composite cables do not support surround sound and you need coaxial, optical or HDMI to support more than 2 channels.
Coaxial (Old Cable Jack)
Old style coaxial is a single cable that supports video and audio but signal is limited to 480p and you won’t get surround sound audio from this old style cabling. This is among the oldest style of cable and dates back to its invention in 1880 according to Wikipedia.